Though gas-station sushi is more notorious than gas-station sexual enhancement, it’s the drugs that led the FDA to issue a consumer warning on Tuesday.
The warning concerned sexual-enhancement products sold under “Rhino” brand names — Platinum Rhino 25000, Krazzy Rhino 25000, etc. — and commonly seen behind bulletproof glass in gas stations and convenience stores but also available on eBay and Amazon.
“The FDA has received reports of people experiencing chest pain, severe headaches and prolonged erections after taking a Rhino product that led to surgical intervention and hospitalization due to extreme drops in blood pressure,” the FDA said Tuesday.
None of the recalls over the years claimed the tablets or capsules don’t work. What got many an over-the-counter pill recalled over the last few years was not stating they contain sildenafil (Viagra’s active ingredient) or tadalafil (Cialis’ active ingredient). By the FDA’s operating theory, that leaves a consumer unaware of dangers such as those commonly stated in Viagra and Cialis commercials.
“These undeclared ingredients are phosphodiesterase type-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors, which can be associated with significant safety issues and the risk of serious adverse events,” the FDA said. “For example, they may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs and may lower blood pressure to dangerous levels.”
The FDA and Department of Justice say some of the 25 products sold under the “Rhino” names since 2007 come from Nam Hyun Lee, a 60-year-old South Korean citizen who prosecutors believe was living illegally in Fullerton, California. On Halloween, Lee was arrested on three counts of smuggling misbranded drugs into the United States and eight counts of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce.
After smuggling sildenafil and tadalafil into the country as powders, the DOJ says, Lee put them in capsules sold as herbal sexual-enhancement products.